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Five of Maxwell's Papers

By Maxwell, James Clerk

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Book Id: WPLBN0000633593
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 60.78 KB
Reproduction Date: 2005

Title: Five of Maxwell's Papers  
Author: Maxwell, James Clerk
Language: English
Subject: Literature, Literature & thought, Writing.
Collections: Blackmask Online Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: Blackmask Online


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Maxwell, J. C. (n.d.). Five of Maxwell's Papers. Retrieved from

Excerpt: When observing the spectrum formed by looking at a long vertical slit through a simple prism, I noticed an elongated dark spot running up and down in the blue, and following the motion of the eye as it moved up and down the spectrum, but refusing to pass out of the blue into the other colours. It was plain that the spot belonged both to the eye and to the blue part of the spectrum. The result to which I have come is, that the appearance is due to the yellow spot on the retina, commonly called the Foramen Centrale of Soemmering. The most convenient method of observing the spot is by presenting to the eye in not too rapid succession, blue and yellow glasses, or, still better, allowing blue and yellow papers to revolve slowly before the eye. In this way the spot is seen in the blue. It fades rapidly, but is renewed every time the yellow comes in to relieve the effect of the blue. By using a Nicol?s prism along with this apparatus, the brushes of Haidinger are well seen in connexion with the spot, and the fact of the brushes being the spot analysed by polarized light becomes evident. If we look steadily at an object behind a series of bright bars which move in front of it, we shall see a curious bending of the bars as they come up to the place of the yellow spot. The part which comes over the spot seems to start in advance of the rest of the bar, and this would seem to indicate a greater rapidity of sensation at the yellow spot than in the surrounding retina. But I find the experiment difficult, and I hope for better results from more accurate observers.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents: Five of Maxwell's Papers, 1 -- James Clerk Maxwell, 1 -- On the Unequal Sensibility of the Foramen Centrale to Light of different Colours, 1 -- On the Theory of Compound Colours with reference to Mixtures of Blue and Yellow Light, 1 -- On an Instrument to illustrate Poinsot's Theory of Rotation, 3 -- Address to the Mathematical and Physical Sections of the British Association, 4 -- Introductory Lecture on Experimental Physics, 13


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